Formats available: paperback, ebook, audiobook
Genre: urban fantasy, paranormal romance
Series: Hidden Legacy #1
Length: 384 pages
Date Released: October 28, 2014
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Book Depository
Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career—a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile case. Nevada isn’t sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire.
Then she’s kidnapped by Connor “Mad” Rogan—a darkly tempting billionaire with equally devastating powers. Torn between wanting to run or surrender to their overwhelming attraction, Nevada must join forces with Rogan to stay alive.
Rogan’s after the same target, so he needs Nevada. But she’s getting under his skin, making him care about someone other than himself for a change. And, as Rogan has learned, love can be as perilous as death, especially in the magic world.
This one gave me a terribly marvelous book hangover. I finished it but I still want to be in this world, to the point where I’m having a terrible time picking up my next book.
As the introduction to this newly created magical version of the 21st century, Burn for Me is definitely a winner. I actually had to put this review away for a night to regain some perspective; otherwise it would have all devolved into fangirl squeeing, and nobody needs to see that.
Burn for Me is urban fantasy, in the way that the early Kate Daniels books are urban fantasy; we see that the main characters seriously have the hots for each other, but there are damn good reasons why one or the other is certain that acting on those hots is a no-win scenario for them, and they’re probably right as the story begins.
In this world, sometime in the early Victorian era some enterprising scientist (and there were a lot of them back then) started playing with a serum to give people what we would call superpowers. So this isn’t a magic-working type urban fantasy, this is a science-based one, for loose definitions of science.
This being loosely SF, the original recipients of the serum were military; the powers-that-were were making the usual attempt to create supersoldiers. And they seem to have succeeded, but there was a side-effect that they didn’t count on – the powers the serum granted turned out to be hereditary. As I said, loosely SF.
By the point of the early 21st century of Burn for Me, the original serum recipients’ families have had several generations of matchmaking to produce new and better powers, and those families are the powers-that-are in this universe. The major powered families are Primes, and they are both families and mega-corporations with the emphasis on the corporation part.
This story pits one little family against three Prime mega-corps, but what is fascinating is that the underdog is neither as under nor as dog as the reader thinks.
Nevada Baylor is the principal investigator of Baylor Investigations Agency, and it’s her duty to keep her family afloat. Her mother is a slightly disabled war vet, and her grandmother is a mechanical wizard (literally) but her dad is dead and her entire family, including her younger sisters and her cousins, depends on the family firm for their home and livelihood.
She gets trapped in a three-way pissing contest between the high-hat investigations firm that owns their debts, and two families fighting over the fate of their children. This looks like no-win all the way around.
MII is throwing Nevada and her family under the Pierce family bus. Adam Pierce has spent a few years honing his bad boy/rebel image by starting fires in public places and pretending to eschew the family money. He’s escalated to killing people as collateral damage while robbing banks, but no one knows why. His family wants him back in one piece.
But part of his collateral damage this time is a disowned member of House Rogan, and his mother wants him saved. She calls on her ex-military brother, Mad Rogan, to get her kid out.
Pierce uses Nevada to keep his family off his back. Rogan uses Nevada as bait for Pierce. Nevada just wants to save her family, but she may have to die to accomplish that.
Or own up to the truly awesome power hidden inside her.
Escape Rating A: Nevada is the character who shines in this story. It’s all on her, and she shoulders the burden every step of the way. Not just because we see the story from her perspective, but because we empathize with the fix she is in and her reasons for her actions.
She feels so responsible. It’s not just that she is responsible for her family, but she is carrying a bucketload of guilt about the way her dad died. Her dilemma of whether to reveal his cancer against his wishes, and how to pay for his treatments and the financial burden vs the extra time it bought is heartbreaking. She hasn’t resolved her feelings, and she can’t.
Burn for Me could have so easily gone down the romantic triangle route, but Nevada is much too smart for that. As much as her grandmother may drool over Adam Pierce’s pictures in the gossip rags, Nevada knows he’s just using her. He’s so self-centered he’s incapable of hiding his agenda. He’s playing her, but she’s also playing him.
The opening stages of Nevada’s relationship with Mad Rogan are much more complex. He’s trying to save his nephew, and she’s trying to protect her family. They start out in very unequal places of power, but Nevada’s ability to go toe-to-toe with him changes the dynamic. His family has generations of power behind them, but Nevada herself is his equal, just not in a way that anyone expects.
Some of it has to do with her contentment with who she is and what she is, some of it is that their power works better together than it does separately. Figuring that out is going to take some time, because Nevada is looking for someone to be her partner, and Rogan doesn’t have experience doing anything that isn’t ultimately selfish, even if it benefits the other party as much as it does himself.
Watching them struggle towards each other is going to be awesome.
Ilona is giving away 1 print copy of BURN FOR ME along with some BURN FOR ME swag to one lucky U.S. winner.
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